Praise for Giacomo Lee’s Funereal:
Lee…accomplishes a literary act of which I know no precedent: convincingly rendering Korean characters through Western eyes. His countryman David Mitchell essayed a dystopian Korea in one layer of Cloud Atlas, but he set it in the unrecognizably distant future. Lee writes of the dystopian Korea of today, one that, in his conception, has driven itself nearly to the asylum with its own increasingly impossible standards and hopelessly unrealistic expectations… Out of that grim material he has crafted the first Western novel of Korea’s dark side.
The rare Western writer to look at Korea has usually written about Westerners in Korea or about the Korean War or some distant past. With a touch of Murakami (Ryu or Haruki, take your pick) and dash of Bruce Sterling, Lee evokes a modern Korea, deeply ambivalent about the new society that is rapidly taking shape. At once a realistic look at modern Korea and all too unreal.
Like Murakami’s work, Funereal uses deep noir themes to drive its plot… [It] is an intriguing, fictional look at a subculture that surprisingly does exist in the country the novel is set. [This] debut novel is an interesting read, and one I highly recommend.
Funereal is the first look at surgery, stardom and the search for happiness in modern day South Korea. Imagine a surreal, dystopian take on ‘hallyu’ (한류), Seoul and so-called k-pop ‘cultural technology’ (문화콘텐츠기술). It’s also a proper book i.e. not self-published, and you can find it in paperback and e-book on Signal 8 Press, East Asia’s leading English language indie press.
– Giacomo Lee for Trickster Trickster, November 2015